Multiple Group One-winning mare Melody Belle will take her place in the Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on Saturday after pleasing her connections in trackwork at Matamata on Tuesday.
The Jamie Richards-trained four-year-old, who is raced by Fortuna Syndications, will be attempting to add a fifth Group One to her tally for the season this weekend and third in succession after taking out the BCD Sprint (1400m) and Haunui Farm WFA Group One Classic (1600m) earlier this year.
“Melody Belle has come through her Group One victory at Otaki in great style and her gallop at Matamata this morning in the hands of race day rider Opie Bosson was very good,” Fortuna Syndicate manager John Galvin said.
“Opie is happy, trainer Jamie Richards is happy, she is ready to go.”
Melody Belle hasn’t contested a race further than a mile in her 19 start career, but her connections are confident she is capable of running out the 2000m distance in her final hit-out of the season.
“She has won four Group races this season in distances from 1200 to 1600m and so this race, which will be her final race of the 2018/19 season, presents as a real test for her,” Galvin said.
“But we think she is up to the task and deserves the opportunity to contest a Group One race at 2000m.”
Trainer Jamie Richards shares the same sentiments and said Saturday’s result will determine what path she takes in the spring, with Australia high on the agenda for the daughter of Commands.
“She has been racing really well and been switching off in her races,” he said.
“The way she has been winning at a mile suggests to us that she will run out a nice 2000m. She’s bred to do it.
“It’s going to be interesting and it’s going to be pretty pivotal to decide where she heads for the spring next season.
“She’s a very sound mare and if we can see her improve a little bit more again and get a bit stronger as a five-year-old, she’s going to be in for a terrific season (next season).” – NZ Racing Desk